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W. Kordofan issues ultimatum for voluntary collection of illegal weapons

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West Kordofan Governor Abu al-Gasim Al-Amin Baraka (SUNA Photo)
August 14, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The government of West Kordofan state has set a two-week deadline to armed groups and tribesmen to hand over illegal weapons and unregulated vehicles.

During a visit to Darfur’s five states in April 2016, the Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir said there is a need to collect illegal weapons from the hands of civilians, admitting that tribal clashes have become the first source of violence that displaced thousands of civilians in Darfur.

He said there will be a first phase where people will be called to voluntarily hand over their arms, adding the second step will be heavy disarmament operations and legal action will be taken against those who didn’t deliver their weapons.

The government then formed the Darfur Disarmament Higher Committee (DDHC) under the chairmanship of the Vice-President Hassabo Mohamed Abdel-Rahman.

However, since last month the government has stepped up its rhetoric regarding the collection of illegal weapons as the Defence Minister Awad Ibn Ouf threatening to collect illegal weapons from the residents even if it requires the use of force.

On Monday, the governor of West Kordofan Abu al-Gasim Al-Amin Baraka chaired a meeting of the committee tasked with the collection of illegal arms in the state in the presence of the security committee and traditional leaders.

Following the meeting, Baraka said the committee has set a two-week deadline to receive the illegal weapons and unregulated vehicles voluntarily, saying the arms and vehicles would be collected forcibly after the deadline.

He urged individuals and tribes to respond to cooperate with the concerned bodies to implement the decision.

For his part, the commander of the army 22nd infantry division and head of the technical committee to collect illegal arms and unregulated vehicles Mekki Hamid Azrag has expressed resolve to implement the presidential decision, saying they developed a tight plan to carry out the decision through certain phases.

He stressed the security forces are ready to provide security in all villages and towns of West Kordofan, calling on the local communities to cooperate to implement the decision.

Also, the West Kordofan’s Police Director and rapporteur of the committee Al-Sadiq Ali Ibrahim has explained the detailed plan for the collection of arms and unregulated vehicles.

He added the meeting took objective decisions regarding the collection of the arms and legalizing weapons of the regular and paramilitary forces, demanding tribesmen and armed groups to hand over their weapons voluntarily.

Ibrahim underscored the decision aims to achieve public interest and security and stability in the state, saying all criminal acts reported to the police were carried out with the firearm.

For his part, the director of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) in West Kordofan Al-Mukashfi al-Awad said the regular forces are capable of collecting illegal arms according to the specified dates.

“We would collect the arms even if it is buried in the ground and we have modern devices that reveal weapons at a distance of seven kilometres”.

He pointed out the weapons would be collected without compensation.

The meeting has reassured residents of the localities on the borders with South Sudan that the army and the security forces would protect their lives and property.
The disarmament of armed groups and tribesmen is seen as an important step that will create a suitable atmosphere for security and stability in Darfur and Kordofan.

But the failure to achieve a comprehensive peace delayed its implementation. Also, the tribal conflicts over land ownership and pastures are a second obstacle for the weapon collection.

(ST)

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